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Demand For Unmanned Aircraft Outstripping Their Capabilities

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the more-drones-please dept.

The Military 325

coondoggie writes "Has the highly successful but disparate unmanned aircraft strategy deployed by the military outstripped the Department of Defense's ability to handle its growth? The Air Force, Army, and Navy have requested approximately $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2010 for new systems and expanded capabilities. The Pentagon's fiscal year 2010 budget request wants to increase the Air Force's Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft programs to 50 combat air patrols by fiscal year 2011 — an increase of nearly 300% since fiscal year 2007. In 2000, the DoD had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in its inventory; as of October 2009, this number had grown to more than 6,800. The program's success, however, is causing some big cracks in the system. According to a report issued this week by congressional watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office. The military is facing a number of challenges — including training, accessing national air space, and improving aircraft communications systems — that must be overcome if unmanned aircraft are to take their place as a central piece of the military's future, the GAO stated."

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Boom and bust... (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664804)

Seems like this works so well they want more of it... but in order for it to do all that they want it to do they'll have to divert resources from the manned flights that exist now. Some programs win, some programs lose. Typical Washington debate about to come up...

Re:Boom and bust... (3, Interesting)

skids (119237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664982)

Can we start a talking points bingo pool on which pols first utter the phrase "technology transfer" in relation to this report?

(Personally, though, I'm sick of subsisting off the technological table scraps of war.)

Re:Boom and bust... (1)

sewa mobil (1743826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665616)

thanks a lot for the explanation and tips provided

Re:Boom and bust... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665696)

Seems like this works so well they want more of it

Nothing like Predator drones for hunting moose.

Bad news (3, Insightful)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664826)

These thing remove the human element to much, from dropping missiles onto weddings and random cars they target from "intel" received.
I think you should have to send in meat soldiers if you want a war, get verification of who your killing, this is making it to easy to unclear to dangerous morally

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664856)

I think you should have to send in meat soldiers if you want a war, get verification of who your killing, this is making it to easy to unclear to dangerous morally

Please explain the morality of war to me.

 

Re:Bad news (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31664896)

Kill him or he'll kill you.

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664948)

It's like covering your sensors when you play lasertag. It's not a game if only one team can get hit. Unfortunately, this is not lasertag, and life isn't fair

Re:Bad news (0)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665042)

It's should depend on the circumstance; Al Queda essentially unplugged one of our lazer tag packs while no one was playing (9/11), therefore if we cover our sensors, I don't see how either side could complain.

However if we were to go invade N. Korea, since they haven't done anything other than break treaties and threaten us, it would be a bit extreme for us to send in an unmanned army, and be looked down upon from the world view. Nonetheless, such scorn didn't stop Bush from getting us into the war in the wrong country over weapons of mass distraction.

As scary as unmanned armies are (I can assure you robotic police forces are coming soon), I hope it can motivate more rational people to take part in world politics...

Re:Bad news (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665220)

I don't see how either side could complain.

Unfortunately we're not in a 2-teams game. We're in a free-for-all game with 2 different uniforms, but where people in the same uniform may or may not be allies or enemies. So if you're gonna start cheating on Team Brown because one of their guys also cheated, well, the entire rest of the team can complain quite consistently about that.

Re:Bad news (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665328)

....and how is your comment different than what I wrote in my second sentence?

Re:Bad news (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665410)

Two different uniforms? Nope.....the other side doesn't wear uniforms. And that is what makes identification and distinguishing them from civilian targets so difficult. Kinda why they have the whole thing about uniformed combatants in the Geneva convention-- to prevent civilian casualties.

Re:Bad news (5, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665522)

You got it exactly right. War isn't a game. The less fair we can make it, the better.

Re:Bad news (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664964)

Robert Heinlein said it best, albeit indirectly. Grok this [umass.edu] and you will understand all human life.

Re:Bad news (3, Informative)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665146)

Grok this and you will understand all human life.

now, I have read a lot of Heinlen, and he's written some good stuff, but he was a jerk. while his work can provide a nice entry point to thinking about the human condition, please don't use his writing as the source of knowledge about humanity.

Re:Bad news (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665266)

The alternative to Heinlein might be that English guy - Kipling. Reading him gives a lot of insight into military life, and incidentally a little insight into politics. Of course, it helps to actually LIVE what he writes about, to fully appreciate it.

Yes, human life is tragic. We have all the resources available to make life on earth a near paradise, but we prefer to shit on each other, and ruin everything.

Ahh well. On subject. The morality of these unmanned killing machine? They don't appeal to me very much. Somehow, it seems a bit cowardly. Osama bin Laden told his troops that digging into the earth in the Tora Bora mountains would save them, because the Americans have no stomach to come into the trenches, and fight hand to hand. We seem to have proved him right in those mountains, and we continue to prove him right with our little toys.

Yeah, it may be considerably less cowardly to target a high value individual with a missile, than to target 3000 civilians with human missiles. Still - it's not the sort of thing the military has done traditionally. No more 'Charge of the Light Brigade' for us.

Re:Bad news (2, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665390)

I think Charge of the Light Brigade is actually an example of why our technology is a good thing morally speaking. The charge was a disaster because of poor information and communication. If our technology can give us better information and help us communicate, we'll attack the wrong target less often and fewer people near the target will die.

Re:Bad news (5, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665518)

Ahh well. On subject. The morality of these unmanned killing machine? They don't appeal to me very much. Somehow, it seems a bit cowardly.

Comments like this (and yours is better thought out than many others in this thread) make me wonder if anyone gets how your average UAV actually works.

You've got a spotter (human) on the ground. He lights up a target to destroy. You've got a Reaper overhead, armed with Hellfire missiles. The pilot of the Reaper (also human) is on the ground somewhere, controlling it remotely. The pilot sees the target illuminated by the spotter, locks on, and fires a missile. Boom.

Take the UAV and replace it with a manned aircraft and what changes? Nothing. Same spotter, same pilot, same missile. You might argue that the pilot isn't at risk in this instance, but hell, most US pilots are only put at risk when someone on their side screws up. Nobody the US is currently at war with has a hope in hell of threatening their aircraft.

Just so we're clear, with or without the UAV, you've still got the same human decision makers. We're not at the stage yet where we can trust an armed and autonomous war machine not to screw up. This isn't Skynet, and the spotter on the ground is the one at the greatest risk, and the one deciding what gets cratered.

If you wanted to argue that using any air support is cowardly, then I'd remind you that war has far less to do with bravery than it does with practicality.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665642)

Cowardly, eh? More cowardly than blowing up innocent civilians? Or maybe torturing and beheading the local population?

Believe me, using unmanned drones to exterminate those animals is no more cowardly than shooting a rabid dog. If you want honour, go play football.

Re:Bad news (1)

Al's Hat (1765456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665152)

That is only one example of many when it comes to Heinlein and his observations of human nature. The state of a society as observed by the cleanliness of public facilities also comes to mind...

Re:Bad news (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664968)

Please explain the morality of war to me.

Sometimes going to war is the best of several bad options. It can never be any better than that, but it can indeed be a moral decision.

Note that I'm not saying this applies to our current wars, just that it does happen from time to time. And when it does, it is also a moral decision to try to reduce the attendant horror as much as possible.

Re:Bad news (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665080)

but it can indeed be a moral decision.

Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

 

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665144)

Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

Obviously, WWII comes to mind. From the viewpoint of the Allies, there was no real choice. We did not choose it..it was thrust upon us. and we couldn't negotiate our way out of it. Not fighting that war, i.e. succumbing to the wishes of Germany and Japan, would have resulted in a far different world that what we have now.

Should the Allies not have fought back?

Re:Bad news (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665302)

We did not choose it? You might want to do a little studying about the "peace" conditions imposed on Germany after World War 1.

No, I'm not EVEN going to try to justify Hitler, and the Nazi party, but raping Germany of her coal and other mining capabilities certainly didn't endear the French to the Germans. There was a lot of stuff the allies imposed on Germany that only tended to feed German nationalism. Remember, the entire world was experiencing the Great Depression, and German workers endured more than a lot of other workers because of those oppressive peace conditions.

No, maybe we didn't "choose" to have World War 2 - but we certainly contributed to German greviances against us.

Re:Bad news (3, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665372)

So then logically the German part of world war II was moral.

Re:Bad news (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665428)

No, maybe we didn't "choose" to have World War 2 - but we certainly contributed to German greviances against us.

Your analogy is akin to defending a child being put in time-out for the second time because he snuck out the first time he was put in it (originally for misbehaving). Remember World War 1? "Well maybe you shouldn't have put him in time-out the first time!"

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

larkost (79011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665772)

The problem with this argument is that Germany was not a child, and was not really any more "at fault" for World War 1 than anyone else. It started just like any of the other land-grab wars before it, but because of the interwoven politics (and a lot of personal ambitions by a lot of people), kept spiraling upward untill we got so much bigger than anything that had come before it.

And Germany was/is not some child, and the US was not some adult. They are, and were, full countries. Full of adults capable of feeling wounded pride. The only reason you can cast them in the role of a naughty child is because they lost the armed conflict. If they had won then the US/France/England led aliance would assume the role of the child. Neither idea holds any water, nor are they useful in preventing the same sort fo problem in the future (one of the most practical reasons to study history).

The de-industrialization of Germany was an atrocious idea, and was the biggest cause of World War 2. Without the horrendus finantial oppresion caused by it Hitler and the Brown-Shirts would never have had the fertile grounds to grow their movement in, and would never have been elected to power in Germany. Eventually there probably would have been a war, but that is only because human nature seems to push us to that eventually.

Re:Bad news (1, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665540)

We did not choose it? You might want to do a little studying about the "peace" conditions imposed on Germany after World War 1.

By the same logic, women deserve to get raped because they wear skimpy clothing.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665776)

We did not choose it? You might want to do a little studying about the "peace" conditions imposed on Germany after World War 1.

By the same logic, women deserve to get raped because they wear skimpy clothing.

No, by the same logic, a man that's raping a woman deserves to be kicked in the balls/maced/tasered/stabbed/shot....

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665816)

Because France, UK and USA are incapable of petulant revenge feelings. Marshal Petain advocated a gentlemanly, "help him recover" attitude to Germany after WWI, and never said that Germany should be squeezed until its pips squeaked.

Anyway, your argument makes no sense: Comparing "Germany were Nazis so it was OK for the Allies to fight" to "Woman wears short skirt, so he should rape her" are in fact more similar. In the case of WWII, the man ensured the woman only had the clothes of a whore.

The causes of WWII is the subject of countless history PhD theses, research, books and so on.

Re:Bad news (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665456)

The problem with that example is that by some accounts, if Japan hadn't bombed pearl harbor, it's just as likely the US would have stayed out of the war entirely.

Re:Bad news (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665150)

The French resistance to German occupation in WWII.

Re:Bad news (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665206)

Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

He didn't say that there were moral wars, he suggested that sometimes there can be a moral dimension to the decision to go to war. I could give you the default example but I don't want to Godwin this thread.

Re:Bad news (5, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665304)

Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

Aha! This is a trick question. You ask an objective question, pretending it might be subjective, and when someone gives a subjective answer (even if the answer would be agreed upon by 99% of the world) you will get to play devil's advocate and claim the answer is subjective. The end result: a damaged definition of "moral" and a smug slashdot poster.

If that's NOT your aim, and your question is a serious one, then I submit that it's harder to name a war that ISN'T fought for a moral cause. Whether you're providing freedom for the oppressed, resources for your starving people, or a more peaceful planet for our grandchildren -- there are few wars fought for war's sake. The morals may be egocentric, delusional, misguided, or just contrary to your own, but they are the fuel for the engine that keeps a war running.

As an exercise for your philosophical side, generalize the motives to the point that all wars are fought for a more perfect peace, and you quickly realize the unfortunate flipside: For most humans, Peace can only truly defined as a combination of "everyone who is not like me is dead" and "everyone gives me what I need before taking what they need"

Yes, wars are fought for Peace, and therefore wars are moral. It's just not the Peace that everyone else wants. That's what makes it a war, and that's what makes it immoral.

Re:Bad news (2, Interesting)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665692)

the roman catholic church way back when did some good work on what is a just war. the considerations they used still pop up in debate. but i once asked a gung-ho solider if he had heard of the concept and he had not, but i am sure he was also a gung-ho Christian

here is a trivial link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War [wikipedia.org]

A reasonable person however would distinguish between justice and morality, IMO.

some reasonable moralities do however categorically disapprove of atrocities.

Re:Bad news (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665404)

The American Revolutionary War
The American Civil War
Mexican American War

Re:Bad news (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665552)

WWII (for the allies)

Re:Bad news (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665136)

Why does this not apply to Afghanistan / Pakistan?

Sometimes going to war is the best of several bad options. It can never be any better than that, but it can indeed be a moral decision.

Note that I'm not saying this applies to our current wars, just that it does happen from time to time. And when it does, it is also a moral decision to try to reduce the attendant horror as much as possible.

Re:Bad news (-1, Troll)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665270)

Because everyone except for you knows that we are in the region purely for control over energy resources.

Re:Bad news (2, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665416)

omg, stfu. the vast energy resources of Afghanistan?

this is the most ridiculous and unsubstantiated claim I've heard on the topic. if you are going to suggest that some natural gas pipeline is the reason then you are doubly retarded.

Even Iraq was never about oil, but at least that would make sense.

Iraq was about spreading western influence, creating a semi-moderate, western-aligned country on Irans border with access to the Arabian Gulf. It was part of the balance-of-power-2.0 game. Was it a bad idea? Yeah, I'll go for that. In principle though, if we were playing Risk, it would be fine.

While we are on the topic, what exactly is wrong with a war for oil? I know your going to cry-ass in your usual leftist fashion about big corporations and stuff....but is energy not A NECESSITY for a modern nation? If the US had NO resources, and the Soviets had them all, what would become of the US, for example? Resources like this are as important as oxygen to a nation. Would you find a "war for oxygen" to be so distasteful?

Yeah? (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665458)

[citation needed] - seriously.

Re:Bad news (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665562)

... a bit trollish, but I won't flame back. It is clear to me that the situation was a direct result of a desire to control energy resources, and why we funded the tyrants that fueled the US hatred in the first place. Further, it is clear we had no business in Iraq as there were never any weapons of mass destruction, and very little Al-Qaeda there. Nonetheless, even if you don't believe the original reason we went into Afghanistan (to retaliate against Al-Qaeda, the group responsible for 9-11) was moral, at this point it's hard to negate that our CURRENT presence there is a moral choice; if we were to leave now, the Afganistan and the US would be in a worse place than before the war started.

Re:Bad news (2, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665572)

When even a guy called Gandhi is telling you to STFU, you know you're right the fuck out of 'er.

Re:Bad news (2, Informative)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665594)

According to the CIA World Factbook [cia.gov] , Afghanistan's top three exports are opium, fruits and nuts, and handwoven carpets. They produce absolutely no oil. Natural gas production is 30 million m^3 per year and is all used domestically. None of the gas is exported. Furthermore, it's not like they're sitting on a natural gas gold mine. Known reserves place them at number 65 in the world.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665298)

Yes, they are having trouble keeping up with the demand. Reminds me of the complaints the SS raised to the pace of killings in the death camps and what a strain it was putting on the camps and guards.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665008)

"Me dying is worse than you dying."

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665256)

"Me dying is worse than you dying."

depending on whom you are, this may be true.

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665038)

The morality of war is that the winners write the history books. And all wars are moral from the victor's viewpoint.

Re:Bad news (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665244)

I don't think many people in the west think of Vietnam as a moral war.

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665286)

GP:

The morality of war is that the winners write the history books. And all wars are moral from the victor's viewpoint.

Parent:

I don't think many people in the west think of Vietnam as a moral war.

That's only a fallacy on GP's part if you think the west won the war in Vietnam.

Re:Bad news (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665530)

Close enough, it only cost us equipment and lives, not territory or our independance. We certainly didn't lose in the sense of the victors writing the history books, there are no North Vietnamese Communists writing my history books.

Re:Bad news (2, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665664)

I would say getting your asses kicked out of Vietnam, and the south being overrun is a loss.
It didn't destroy the US, but there's no way you could construe it as a victory.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665788)

Not sure if that would be worse than having religious nuts in Texas writing them.

Re:Bad news (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665636)

I guess it depends on your definition of "won". It's wrong anyway - European conquerors definitely won the war against the indigenous populations of North America, yet you'd be hard-pressed to find people who would justify such actions. Even those of us who are happy with the results are still forced to admit that the actions of the various empires were quite immoral.

So no, it's not the winners who write the history books; it's done by the dominant societies of the era, which are influenced by the zeitgeist of their time. WW2 was seen as a moral war because the pictures sent home were of alpha males proudly erecting flags over battlefields, being greeted as heroes by the local populace, and rescuing emaciated prisoners from concentration camps. Vietnam was seen as an immoral war because the pictures sent back were of Vietnamese kids running from napalm bombs and grimy-looking bastards executing civilians. Realistically, WW2 caused far more suffering to the civilian populations of the nations we were liberating, but that doesn't matter - it's all about the pictures and the popular perception.

Re:Bad news (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665712)

But we didn't win....

Re:Bad news (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665140)

Re:Bad news (2, Informative)

jp102235 (923963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665442)

clausevitz, jomini, study them. To even ask the question of explaining morality in war suggests you might have thought there should be morality in war. I am sorry you got that impression. A short essay on my thoughts and others:
War is an extension of politics - clausevitz. In the quest to get some power/people/entity to stop doing something (invading, destabilizing, living in some land you want) you must find a way (a policy) that convinces them (harasses them) such that continued pursuit of the policy you abhor (invading, destabilizing, living in some land you want) is NOT in their best interests. Since kings/presidents/governments tend to listen to their people _before_ they listen to some other king/president/government - your task as a war strategist: convince the king/president/government to stop the behavior you abhor (invading, destabilizing, living in some land you want) by causing chaos and fear amongst his population (the people who pay for the invading, destabilizing, living in some land you want activities). This could be peaceful (voice of america), cruel (trade emabargoes, sanctions), or violent (killing them / breaking their stuff until they see your way)

Jomeni advocated bombing the city centers (al queda have you been studying jomeni?) to cause chaos.
This method of warfare dominated US strategy during WW2 (nagasaki, hiroshima, fire bombings: germany, japan) and briefly during linebacker 2 of the vietnam war.
This is also the method of warfare of "terrorists" since beirut. Using largely ineffective, but spectactular effects to scare people. (cars/heart attacks/cancer kill way many more people than terrorists)

Recent glamorization of war (going back as far as the chivalry movement of the knights to cut down on the sheer barbarism of war) since WW2 has led to this thought of "civilians" - people who have nothing to do with war - and thus don't deserve to be targeted: it is merely a myth to calm the palettes of doves to convince them that war isn't really all that bad. Which of course is not true.

Once we stop the idea of "civilian" - I think people will realize that we all are responsible for the people we put in office, and it is our responsibility to stop them from expressing anything other than our intent when it comes to war. we are all in this fight, whether it be school teachers educating the next marines, or even the grocery store, our taxes fund the war machine and are a collective message to the rest of the world on our approval of the current war we are in.

in short: war was never meant to be moral - it is simply getting a country to do something they do not want to do, by means of strategic maneuvering (bombs, trade, money, isolation, invasion, eradication)

Re:Bad news (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664916)

The difference between dropping a bomb from a UAV while you are driving it from in a trailer, and dropping a bomb while you are sitting at 25,000 feet and 15 miles away is not that much different. You still have no real 'connection' and you are still relying on intel from elsewhere.
Specifically, a laser guided bomb (LGB) may be relying on a laser designator from someone else, not in your aircraft. This works for a regular A/C or a UAV. Drop within the basket, and someone else guides it in.

And that intel/targeting may be from a competing warlord, wishing to take out his competition.

Re:Bad news (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665168)

this.

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665292)

I'd argue that there is far less likely for mishap in the UAV situation. You can afford to take your time a bit more before dropping the bomb, for one thing. With a manned bombing mission in a dangerous theater they will tend to fly in, reach their drop point, drop the bombs, and head out of there. Every second you linger in the target area is a chance to be killed - if the target is worth hitting chances are that it is worth defending, so the area right around the target is often the most dangerous area in the whole mission.

On the other hand, with a UAV you can have one guy flying the thing (or it can be on autopilot), and you can have as many people as you like staring at the video feed making sure that everything looks ok before dropping the bomb. If in doubt you can just wait a little - ok, so maybe they get a missile or two off but you will probably still hit the target even if you don't make it out of there, and the loss of a UAV isn't a horrible thing.

Plus you don't have nearly as much adrenaline pumping, which makes for more level-headed decisions.

I think UAVs have a great deal of potential to cut down on battlefield errors.

Re:Bad news (1, Informative)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665726)

You obviously aren't familiar with how this works, you can't "take your time" often your target is only available for a short period of time and then quite often surrounded by "non targets".
On the ground you can "take your time".

Take comfort no one is targeting you...yet.

Re:Bad news (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665904)

I'm pretty sure losing a few $10 million drones because you wanted to be sure it was the right target and got shot down for your trouble is going to be "career limiting".

Sure less motivation than "I might die", but still a motivation.

Coverage will be different (2, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665342)

The most important part of this for the Pentagon is that there's no human cost to losing a UAV on the American side. There are no airfields with reporters to deal with - you're not going to allow a journalist on to an airforce base inside the control room for "security" purposes. The pussies who call themselves reporters don't go out of the green zone anymore, and it's hard to get anyone to care about a grainy video or far away sounding reports from foreign news sources. You can bomb the hell out of whomever you like. Even the most dovish democrats will have jobs tied to it in their home districts. Americans have proved we have an endless capacity for funding war. And with UAVs, no caskets with American flags, no problems.

Vietnam [nocaptionneeded.com] was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.” -General Westmoreland

Re:Coverage will be different (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665508)

Don't shareholders of corporations vote with their share of the stock? Did you even think about your signature quote before trying to look cool by using it?

Re:Coverage will be different (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665720)

Don't shareholders of corporations vote with their share of the stock? Did you even think about your signature quote before trying to look cool by using it?

While it's true that shareholders get to vote once in a while, it is also true that by law a corporation has to do everything in its power to maximize shareholder profits....

Re:Bad news (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665036)

These thing remove the human element to much

People have been saying that since roughly the invention of the thrown rock. Do you honestly think that the bombardier looking out a glass window miles over the battlefield has any human connection with the targets below or "verification" of who he kills?

If anything, being physically separated from the battlefield makes it harder to indiscriminately kill, as you have all the self-doubt and remorse but none of the adrenaline and self-preservation instincts. Killing becomes a lot easier—and you become a lot less discriminate—when you know somebody is actively trying to kill you.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665294)

If anything, being physically separated from the battlefield makes it harder to indiscriminately kill, as you have all the self-doubt and remorse but none of the adrenaline and self-preservation instincts.

That, only applies to a non-psychopath. There ARE people who enjoy this.

Re:Bad news (0, Flamebait)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665798)

I love this, people that have never been in combat debating war, nothing makes you look like an ass faster.
"people have been saying this since the invention of the thrown rock" and they were and are correct, dropping bombs on weddings in Iraq from Las Vegas then going home to your wife and kid is a fucked up way to war, you should have to see it first hand, feel it, smell it, and die with them as well.
War sucks.

Re:Bad news (4, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665070)

They said that when spears beat rocks. They said that when guns won against swords, spears, and bows. They said it when machine guns decimated rifle ranks. They said it when airplanes and tanks rolled or flew over the trenches. They said it when V1s and V2s were raining on London. They said it when the US nuked Hiroshima. They said it when the US adopted stealth, night vision and GPS, and on and on. Face it, technology wins wars and ensures safety for the side that has the better tech. War is as much a technological battle as it is a physical one.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665282)

pretty soon we can just have a computer tell us who is dead and send them to the atomizer.
You want war don't do it from a distance.
For the record, we should be ashamed of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Re:Bad news (1, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665490)

For the record, we should be ashamed of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What was the alternative? (Consider the context of several years of all out war all over the globe)

Re:Bad news (1)

Faaln (1004586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665754)

For the record, we should be ashamed of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What was the alternative? (Consider the context of several years of all out war all over the globe)

The same thing that happened when the allies eventually crushed Germany; sick ranks upon ranks of Red Army conscripts on them.

Re:Bad news (1)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665770)

Peace you moron.

Re:Bad news (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665520)

For the record, they attacked one of our bases for no logical reason whatsoever and no one else has tried any cute shit since then.

Re:Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665778)

For the record, they attacked one of our bases for no logical reason whatsoever and no one else has tried any cute shit since then.

Wrong, there was rationale [wikipedia.org] ; we stopped supplying them with oil, and they felt their only recourse was to attack us

Re:Bad news (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665844)

You might want to research that a little further... There was reason a plenty from their perspective. Several of them, even, seemed rather conveniently provided by the US administration of the time... Though that last bit is left to anyone's interpretation. The US population had no intention to go to war, but I don't think that entirely speaks true of the whole government back then. Here's Gore Vidal on the subject:

On July 16, 1941, Prince Konoye, a would-be peacemaker, became prime minister. On July 26 (as a vote of confidence?) the US froze all Japanese funds in the US and stopped the export of oil. When Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles was asked by the Japanese if some compromise might be worked out, Welles said there was not the "slightest ground for any compromise solution."

Our first provocation against Japan began with FDR's famous Chicago address (October 5, 1937), asking for a quarantine against aggressor nations. Certainly, Japan in Manchuria and north China qualified as an aggressor just as we had been one when we conquered the Philippines and moved into the Japanese neighborhood at the start of the twentieth century. In December 1937, the Japanese sank the Panay, an American gunboat in Chinese waters, on duty so far from home as the Monroe Doctrine sternly requires. Japan promptly, humbly paid for the damage mistakenly done our ship. Meanwhile, FDR—something of a Sinophile—was aiding and abetting the Chinese warlord Chiang Kai-shek.

Three years later the Western world changed dramatically. France fell to Hitler, an ally of Japan. FDR was looking for some way to help Britain avoid the same fate. Although most bien pensant Americans were eager to stop Hitler, not many fretted about Japan. Also, more to the point—the point—a clear majority of American voters were against going to war a second time in Europe in a single generation. Nevertheless, instead of meeting Konoye, FDR met Winston Churchill aboard a warship off Newfoundland. FDR said that he would do what he could to help England but he was limited by an isolationist Congress, press, and electorate. Later, Churchill, in a speech to Parliament, let part of the cat out of the bag: "The possibility since the Atlantic Conference...that the United States, even if not herself attacked, would come into a war in the Far East, and thus make final victory sure, seemed to allay some of those anxieties...." (The anxieties were FDR's inability to come to the full aid of England in the war with the Axis.) "As time went on, one had great assurance that if Japan ran amok in the Pacific, we should not fight alone."

Re:Bad news (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665234)

FALSE. There must be a crew on the ground spotting the target with their own eyes

Re:Bad news (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665668)

FALSE. Not sure where you got that idea from.

Conventional wisdom (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664832)

And yet they still try to convince you that playing video games all day doesn't teach you any marketable skills!

Re:Conventional wisdom (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665546)

This was all predicted over 17 years ago -- Toys [imdb.com] .

Commercial Industry (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664842)

Just wait until the commercial industry catches on. City 17 is coming, folks.

Re:Commercial Industry (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665020)

I think there is a part of the equation you are missing......

Re:Commercial Industry (1)

spedrosa (44674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665198)

Such as... aliens?

How about (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31664884)

They could develop a computer system which combines sensor input and calculates optimal control output. For resilience it should be distributed and connected through a network. A network for the sky controlling machines which terminate enemy combatants.

Re:How about (1)

Palpatine_li (1547707) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665446)

good idea. Even better if we can find general Brewster to be in charge of this project.

Re:How about (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665548)

The old Terminator movies were about a similar system. Nice try though, next time use Google first.

Re:How about (1)

JazzXP (770338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665622)

Woooooosh!

Knock knock (4, Funny)

vandelais (164490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664910)

Who's there?

I kill you.

Killswitch (1)

Cur8or (1220818) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665012)

As long as we can switch them off when they turn on us. Just like the internet, I mean Skynet.

I know how they feel (5, Funny)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665028)

My capabilities are far outstripped by my wife's demands.

Re:I know how they feel (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665166)

Dude, that's why there's Viagra!

My capabilities are far outstripped by my wife's demands.

Re:I know how they feel (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665482)

Is that why she turned to the unmanned model?

MS with wings (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665226)

The US mil hacked and patched the system together as a passive look down system to light up targets.
Rails for rockets where added later.
The problem is the units are just prototypes on a production line.
They fail early and just keep on pumping out more.
Its going to catch up with the number of requests.
Solution- outsource. Get Brazil, South Africa, France, England - any $ needing country with a US friendly airframe ready history to make the basics and get state side security-cleared mercenaries to snap on the US electronics :)
A bit like Asia does for computers. Whats the drone per militant count like? How many rockets fired until fall apart?
A new freedom fighter takes 15 to 35-45 years to produce.
If a propaganda clip radicalizes X supporters and Y make it to the front how many drones does the US need to produce ..

Easy training solution (2, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665306)

Put videogames that simulate the planes in trailer parks and recruit the kid with the highest score.

think there is a part of the equation you are mis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665510)

I think there is a part of the equation you are missing......China Mobile Phones [chinamobilephones.org]
Chinese Girls [chinese-girls.org]
Indian Girls [indian-girls.net]

Money better spent (-1, Offtopic)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665624)

Population = 28,396,000
Unemployment 35 percent
= unemployed 9,938,000
Money Proposed = 6,100,000,000
Avg current wage yearly = $900
= number of jobs you could fund 6,777,777
Divide by 3 years = 2,259,259 jobs a year

A significant improvement in the economy for millions for a few year is far more valuable than the few hundred people that this money would kill.

Re:Money better spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31665700)

I have no idea what country those numbers are ran for but they are certainly not America, where the US Department of Defense is located.

However, hardly anyone (here at least) will disagree that the money is better spent elsewhere, especially with the recent acquisitions of F-22s and the upcoming purchases of F-35s and the billions poured into those platforms.

Re:Money better spent (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665880)

OK, I give. What country has a population of 28,396,000, an unemployment rate of 35%, and an avg wage of $900/yr. Certainly not the United States, whose military we are discussing.

Pay Through The Frontal Lobe (3, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665832)

"The military is facing a number of challenges, including training, accessing national air space and improving aircraft communications systems..."

And rehabilitation. For reasons not yet understood UAV remote pilots are suffering more burnout than most others, as well as PTSD to an extent that mystifies.

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